The container delivery and handling activities of Chittagong Port have been severely disrupted by the six-day hartal-blockade called by BNP, Jamaat.
BNP-Jamaat called the blockade-hartal, the amount of financial loss of traders is increasing day by day. Since last week, the production and trade of the industrial factories has decreased by 50 percent compared to the normal period due to the blockade and strike, the businessmen said. So to reduce financial losses and avoid risks, they said that they are giving preference to weekends for transporting goods. Such a picture has also been seen in the data of Chittagong Port’s product delivery.
BSRM is the top rod manufacturing company in the country. Deputy General Manager (DGM) of the company Tapan Sengupta told TBS, “Covid-19, the subsequent Russia-Ukraine war and the dollar crisis have already been a long-standing business crisis. The ongoing strike-blockade surrounding the upcoming elections has added to this.”
He said that despite the increase in the price of raw materials in the international market, the production of steel has decreased by 30 percent due to the stagnation of public and private projects in the country due to the dollar crisis.
Meanwhile, the ongoing blockade-strike has reduced the sales of BSRM’s steel products by up to 60 percent. The quantity of products being sold also has to face a lot of problems in transportation. Because the cost of long-distance transport has increased by about 20-25 percent. However, many transport owner-drivers are not willing to transport goods because of the risk.
Therefore, weekends are being prioritized for safe delivery and transportation of goods.
KR Group Chairman Sekandar Hossain Tinku said that the sale of MS Rods has come down by half due to the strike-blockade. He told TBS that during normal times around 150 tonnes of rods are sold per day but now it has come down to 80 tonnes. As a result of this, the sale of steel raw material scrap in the ship breaking yards is largely stopped, said this entrepreneur.
S Alam Cement produces and markets around 12,000 bags of cement per day. But during the blockade and strike, their sales have dropped to half, said Shafiqul Islam, DGM of the company. He claimed that the sale has decreased due to public panic and the risk of transporting goods due to the burning of cars on the road during the strike-blockade.
SM Kamruzzaman, owner of wholesale rod-cement trader M/s Zaman Enterprises in Asadganj area of Khatunganj, said, “In normal times, the fare for transportation of 13 tons of goods between Chittagong and Sylhet is Tk 17,000. Due to strike-blockade, the fare has now reached Tk 22-23,000.”
He said, “Although some vehicles transport goods at night with extra fare, most of the vehicles are running on holidays. However, we have to worry whether the vehicles will be able to deliver goods and return safely even on holidays.”
On condition of anonymity, a branch manager of a private bank in Khatunganj said that the bank’s transactions have decreased by 40-50 percent over the past week. This situation has been created due to the lack of entry of long-distance vehicles in the market.
The delivery operations of the port are continuously disrupted
The container delivery and handling activities of Chittagong port have been severely disrupted by the six-day hartal-blockade called by BNP, Jamaat in three stages. Due to the impact of this program, the number of container deliveries from the port has come down to 2,000. That is, the delivery is reduced by almost half. Importers are afraid to take delivery of goods from the port during the blockade.
In such a situation, importers choose the day when there is no public holiday or blockade for delivery of goods. At that time the delivery of Chittagong port is increasing by more than 50 percent compared to normal time. A review of recent data on container handling at Chittagong Port has revealed such a picture.
Under normal circumstances Chittagong Port handles three thousand to four thousand containers per day; And five thousand to six thousand trucks, covered vans and motorized vehicles enter the port to collect the goods.
Importers are given a grace period of four days after unloading their containers from the ship before paying the fare. Following this initial deadline, importers are charged $6 per day for a 20-foot container for the first week.
The daily fee doubles to $12 in the second week for a 20-foot-long container and rises to $24 from the 21st day in the same vein.
According to Chittagong port data, daily container handling at Chittagong port is calculated from 8 am of the previous day to 8 am of the next day. Accordingly, 4132 TEU containers were delivered to the port on October 27. Then the number of handling is reduced by half. Container delivery on October 30 was 2106 TEU due to strike.
At the end of the one-day strike, 4105 TEU containers were delivered on October 31 from 8 am to 31 October. In the next two days, container deliveries fell below 3,000. On November 3, deliveries rose to 5,451 TEUs compared to normal. The last two days of blockade resulted in 1992 container deliveries on 6 November (8 am on 5 November to 8 am on 6 November).